Managing Chronic Diseases: What Steps You Can Take For A Better Quality Of Life

Living with a chronic disease is at best irritating and uncomfortable, and at worst, utterly debilitating. According to the National Health Council, there are over 130 million people living in the United States that have some form of incurable chronic illness. A majority on money spent on health and medical bills is due to these long-term diseases and ailments, and they’re extremely varied. Managing a healthy and happy life whilst living with one of these illnesses isn’t always easy, and it entirely depends on your particular affliction. There are some generally accepted steps in finding out how to deal with your own illness, however. Follow these steps below to help you to better understand your condition and your coping mechanisms. 

Research Your Ailment 

It’s important for you to understand exactly what is happening with your body and your disease, so make sure you gather as much information as possible. Ideally, you’ll want to discuss this with your specialist doctor or nurse. You should make sure you’re finding out this information from these particular experts as you can find unhelpful online resources, especially on social media, which spread disinformation or fear about living with your disease. It’s essential for you to know what your disease is doing to your body, as well as the side effects of your medication, and the methods that are often used to alleviate symptoms. Spend plenty of time investigating this topic and ensure you become your own expert on the matter.  

Identify Any Triggers 

Some chronic illnesses, especially ones related to the digestive system, can be exacerbate by certain triggers. These can be anything from foods to experiences and situations. For things like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, spicy foods and alcohol are often avoided due to their alleged risk of initiating a flare up of symptoms. Stress and poor mental health are also a common trigger for certain illnesses, so note any increase in severity that seems to come from a change in your mental health or stressful situations. If possible, try to avoid these triggering scenarios as much as possible to reduce your risk of symptoms appearing. 

Seek Quality Medical Advice 

As well as providing you with research materials and information, your specialist doctor or internist can offer you guidance on how to manage your symptoms and reduce the impact of the disease on your life. Whether that’s via medication or some form of therapy, you’ll want to gather as much advice and research as possible to help you decide on your next steps. Finding somewhere that specialises in internal medicine such as the Ruscio Institute can be a great choice for managing your chronic illness too, as their focus is to not only diagnose and treat both acute and chronic symptoms and conditions, but to get to the source of your disease to figure out what it causing it. 

Speak To Other Sufferers 

Doctors can only help you understand your illness to a certain degree, and most of this knowledge will come a research point of view as opposed to having an experience of the disease. The best people to speak to after you’ve been diagnosed with your chronic illness is other sufferers. Not only can these people help you to get a better understanding of your symptoms and triggers, they’ll also be able to suggest coping mechanisms that have worked for them. There’s also a sense of unity that you can achieve when speaking to someone that’s experiencing a similar problem to you. Of course, try to maintain your own opinion and understanding of your own condition too. It’s important to remember that even a shared chronic illness can provide drastically different symptoms between you and another sufferer. There is also the risk that fear-mongering can take place, especially on online forums and chat rooms, so remain vigilant and avoid getting swept up in anything like this. 

Work On You General Health

If possible, it’s important to maintain your physical health as well as your mental health coping with a chronic disease. It’s easy to let our health considerations slip, especially when symptoms are painful and impact our ability to move about. If this is the case, gentle exercise is a great choice to keep yourself moving and reducing the risks of a sedentary lifestyle, while avoiding any strenuous activity which could aggravate the disease. As with our physical health, maintaining a positive outlook on life can be tough to do, especially with a lifelong diagnosis. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that many people are suffering too. This might not sound like helpful information, but the point is, there are more ways for you to manage and cope than you might initially think, so try not to give up hope. A great way to help with this is to create a support network by surrounding yourself with loving and caring friends and family. They don’t necessarily have to be directly involved in your struggle either. Sometimes just knowing that someone is there that understands you’re struggling and can check in on you is all you need.